University of Oulu

Hamalainen, M., & Salmi, A. (2023). Digital transformation in a cross-laminated timber business network. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 38(6), 1251–1265.

Digital transformation in a cross-laminated timber business network

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Author: Hämäläinen, Mervi1; Salmi, Asta2
Organizations: 1School of Marketing and Communication, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland
2Oulu Business School, Oulun Yliopisto, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-12-09


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate two current transformation processes in the construction industry: the adoption of a novel material, cross-laminated timber (CLT), and the enhancement of digital transformation. This paper depicts the actors and interaction in the business network that is emerging around CLT construction and, in particular, how digital transformation (that is, the deployment of Construction 4.0 solutions) occurs in this business network.

Design/methodology/approach: Digital transformation is a relatively new phenomenon in CLT construction, and the authors, therefore, adopt a qualitative inductive research approach and rely on semi-structured interviews.

Findings: The findings of this paper suggest that it is critical for actors to adopt an interorganizational perspective in CLT construction, instead of only focusing on internal operations. An interorganizational perspective supports successful CLT construction, as well as the deployment of Construction 4.0 solutions. This will bring about the benefits of digital transformation in the construction industry.

Research limitations/implications: This paper investigates the network created around CLT construction in Finland but more generally illustrates the change toward Construction 4.0 solutions.

Practical implications: For managers, this paper explicates the importance of networking, instead of focusing on the internal development of the company, when adopting novel solutions emerging from both construction and information technology-related advancements.

Originality/value: Stability and traditions are characteristic of the construction industry. New technical solutions and materials, together with calls for sustainability, have challenged the traditional ways of constructing, and for example, the development of CLT construction has led to an emergence of new business networks. This material-related process and the ongoing digital transformation of business form an interesting context for an empirical-based analysis of changing interaction and networks. This paper gives the first insights into how digital transformation can benefit the evolution of the network.

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Series: Journal of business & industrial marketing
ISSN: 0885-8624
ISSN-E: 2052-1189
ISSN-L: 0885-8624
Volume: 38
Issue: 6
Pages: 1251 - 1265
DOI: 10.1108/jbim-01-2022-0003
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Funding: Asta Salmi gratefully acknowledges funding from the University of Oulu & the Academy of Finland Profi5 326291.
Copyright information: © 2022, Mervi Hamalainen and Asta Salmi. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at